Mental health advocate partners with Acadia to launch BLM/TRC Awards initiative

November 20, 2020

By Fred Sgambati (’83)

Two things motivate Junior Moaku (’19): awareness and involvement. Knowing what’s going on and doing something about it.

He developed these qualities at Acadia as a student-athlete playing varsity basketball while obtaining a degree in business. It’s also why he created Save Me Save We and recently partnered with Acadia to help promote the newly constituted Black Lives Matter and Truth and Reconciliation Commission (BLM/TRC) Awards at Acadia.

Junior founded Save Me Save We as a fourth-year student-athlete working to complete his BBA. He had noticed that several of his teammates and classmates struggled with mental health issues and wanted to promote empowerment and discourage destructive coping mechanisms, in hopes of reducing the stigma often associated with mental health.

The Hamilton, Ontario native created the Save Me Save We organization in the spring of 2018 and began selling T-shirts with the logo of a brain inside a heart as a symbol for mental well-being. The clothing line has expanded to include original and classic hoodies, tracksuits and sweatpants, and a percentage of every sale goes to support mental health initiatives in Nova Scotia. The organization’s motto is ‘Alone We Are Strong, Together We Are Stronger’.

Junior’s entrepreneurial skill and personal commitment to health and wellness made him an ideal fit for the BLM/TRC Awards project. Additionally, he has created a T-shirt with a “Teach Peace” message and will donate a portion of each sale to the initiative.

Tracey McGillivray (’87), a proud advocate for social justice reform, is an early promoter of the initiative and has pledged $1,000 annually to seed the fundraising campaign.  “Education is the root of progress”, McGillivray says, “and the goal is to use Acadia’s Crowdfund platform to raise funds and direct them to African Canadian and Indigenous students to empower both communities by improving and encouraging access to post-secondary education.”

“Poor mental health can lead to low motivation, low self-esteem, lack of interest in socializing and sudden mood changes,” Moaku says. “In order for individuals to thrive in their work and social life, they require strong and stable emotions and also the skill to manage their responses to daily stresses. Mentally healthy, an individual is more capable of working productively, coping with pressure and stressful events, and making positive progress toward reaching their full potential.

“The BLM/TRC Awards will provide much-needed financial resources and contribute to increased awareness of issues affecting African Canadian and Indigenous students at Acadia. It’s an honour and a privilege to lend my voice and energy to this important undertaking.”

The BLM/TRC Awards will be granted on an annual and renewable basis to domestic students of African Canadian or Indigenous descent with financial need in any year of study. All renewed recipients will have demonstrated involvement in campus initiatives and will have helped to foster a welcoming environment for fellow members of the Acadia community.

Nancy Handrigan (’92), Executive Director, Philanthropy at Acadia, says, “Our goal is to level the playing field for historically disadvantaged populations by promoting education as a cornerstone for progress.”

“Acadia is committed to combating systemic racism and we believe that increasing bursary funding directly to African Canadian and Indigenous students is an important step toward doing that.”

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